When Beowulf dies, the Geats dwell upon his greatness. They see him as a hero, not just because of the things he accomplished, but because of the sacrifices he made for them. The character, Beowulf, is a classic example of someone who fights for pride and glory. He is a brave warrior who is trying to repay his father’s debts to the king of Denmark. Beowulf is a tragic hero because he is noble, has a tragic flaw that leads to his downfall, and sacrifices himself for the good of his people. The achievements that Beowulf accomplishes make the people believe in him as a tragic hero.
To be noble, one has to possess power and authority, but still fulfill obligations to their people. Beowulf stands as a noble king. He earns his power, and leads and fights for his people. At the end of the story, Beowulf battles a dragon that has been troubling his people. This shows us the sacrifice he makes for the Geats to try to save them. After Beowulf is defeated and killed by the dragon, his loyal warrior, Wiglaf, speaks. Wiglaf, the only warrior standing by his side during the fight, tells the other warriors that they have betrayed Beowulf, the king “who showered you with gifts” (2866). In this quote, Wiglaf is saying that Beowulf has proven his loyalty to his warriors by giving them weapons, armor, and treasure, which in their society was expected of a king or ring-giver. After Beowulf’s death, the Geats realize his nobility, generosity, and bravery.
Although Beowulf is a noble king, he, like every tragic hero, has a tragic flaw. In Beowulf’s case it is hubris. Hubris is a characteristic of someone who is over confident or prideful. Pride has a good and a bad consequence for Beowulf. One benefit of pride is that it promotes confidence in battles. For example, when Beowulf goes to fight Grendel, he says, “now I mean to be a match for Grendel, / settle the outcome in single combat” (425-426). In this quote, Beowulf is saying that he wants to keep the matchup...
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